Aspen baseball ends long skid against Gunnison, stays perfect in WSL play |

Aspen baseball ends long skid against Gunnison, stays perfect in WSL play

A Gunnison runner gets safely to first base after a throw sails over the head of Aspen's Jamison Fuentes during Tuesday's game at Crawford Field in El Jebel. Aspen won, 10-8.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

It’s taken many beatdowns for the Aspen High School baseball team to get to this point, but on Tuesday the Skiers finally overcame Gunnison for a 10-8 win at Crawford Field in El Jebel. The last time AHS beat the Cowboys? Go back to 2011.

“It was good for these seniors to get around and beat a team that has really dominated us throughout their entire career,” AHS coach Dave Fuentes said. “It’s fun to actually get out there and take one.”

Aspen senior Miles McConnell pitched 3.2 innings in relief to get the win, allowing four hits, four runs and striking out four batters. Most of the scoring came in the third and fourth innings, while strong defense bookended the sometimes wild contest.

Gunnison led 1-0 after an inning but a four-run third inning put Aspen on top, at least temporarily. The Cowboys answered with four runs in the top of the fourth to take a 5-4 lead, but then Aspen put on a bunting clinic in the bottom of the fourth to push across six runs and retake a 10-5 lead.

“All season we’ve been working on throwing strikes and not giving up walks. It’s really hard to defend a walk,” Fuentes said. “If you are throwing strikes and they are putting the ball in play, our defense is pretty solid. We had a couple miscues, but overall our defense played well.”

Gunnison got three runs back in the sixth inning, but couldn’t get anyone into scoring position in the seventh, a lineout to AHS senior Jamison Fuentes at first base ending the game.

According to MaxPreps, Aspen hadn’t beaten Gunnison since winning 12-5 during the 2011 season. Since then, the Cowboys have delivered some embarrassing losses to the Skiers, one of the worst being a 32-0 Gunnison win in 2015.

For Gunnison, Tuesday’s loss was the second loss of the day, as only a few hours earlier it fell 7-6 at Basalt in a makeup from earlier in the season. Griffen Jenkins hit the walk-off single to win the game for the Longhorns, while Raul Torres earned the win on the mound.

Gunnison fell to 4-11 on the season, while Basalt improved to 6-4-1 and Aspen 11-2.

The Longhorns are scheduled to host perennial powerhouse Delta Wednesday afternoon, while Aspen has to head to Delta on Friday. Delta (10-6) and Aspen remain as the only two undefeated teams in 3A Western Slope League play.

“They are one of the top teams in the state. They can put the ball in play,” Dave Fuentes said of Delta. “They have some guys that can hit. We were competitive with them last year. So hopefully we can be competitive with them on Friday and show up and have some fun.”